Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of JerusalemAt Mass for Alaska gathering of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem are Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz, Thompson Faller, Mary O'Brien, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Thomas McKiernan and Auxiliary Portland Bishop Peter Smith.

Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem
At Mass for Alaska gathering of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem are Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz, Thompson Faller, Mary O'Brien, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Thomas McKiernan and Auxiliary Portland Bishop Peter Smith.

Some Oregon Catholics are playing a major role in a 900-year-old order of Knights and Ladies sworn to protect and support Christians in the Holy Land. The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem held an annual meeting of its Northwest Lieutenancy Sept. 18-21 in Anchorage, Alaska.

At the meeting Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Grand Master of the Order and former Archbishop of Baltimore, announced that Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample is the new Grand Prior of the Northwest Lieutenancy, replacing Archbishop George Niederauer, Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco.  

Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith of Portland was invested into the order with the rank of Knight Commander with Star.  

Thompson Faller, a retired University of Portland philosophy professor who is a Knight of the Grand Cross in the order, was installed as the Lieutenant of the Northwestern Lieutenancy. Faller is a member of the Board of Regents of Bethlehem University in Palestine.

As head of the lieutenancy, he replaces Mary O'Brien who became a member of the order’s Grand Magisterium

Faller joined the order at the invitation of Portlanders Art and Ruth Schulte. He was touched by stories of Christians in the Holy Land “struggling against forces which appear to be interested in their complete demise and of the places sacred to our Christian heritage.”

Faller is convinced that many Catholics are not aware of the “dire situation” for Christians in the place where their faith was established.

The Northwest Lieutenancy is one of 62 lieutenancies in the world. One of the largest in area, it is comprised of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Northern California, Utah and Northern Nevada. There are approximately 550 members in the Northwest Lieutenancy. Oregon is home to 48 active members.

Since the founding of the Order in about 1099, members have dedicated themselves to personal sanctification, fidelity to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and support of the Christian community in the Holy Land.

Knights and Ladies continue the tradition through prayer and pilgrimage, active involvement in their parish and diocese and a commitment of financial resources to support Catholic institutions in the Holy Land.  

Financial contributions by members of the order are used in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan to support parish churches, community centers, convents, seminaries, clinics, hospitals, schools and Bethlehem University. Donations also go toward scholarships, food and medical supplies.